The U.S. Census Bureau made a soft launch of the 2020 census website last Monday, making its form available online. Also last week, the Bureau began mailing out notices to households across the U.S. asking them to self-respond to the census questionnaire online. But there is no need to wait until you receive the notice. People filling out the form via the internet are encouraged to use the ID included in the notice, but those who answer the questions online before getting their IDs will still be counted.
There has been a U.S. census every decade since 1790. The results determine how many congressional seats each state gets and how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is distributed. Texas stands to gain two or three congressional seats from this census count, and an undercount of 1 percent in Texas could mean losing out on as much as $300 million per year in federal funding.
The 2020 census is the first in which most people are being encouraged to answer the questions online, though people can still answer the questionnaire by telephone or by mailing back a paper form, if they prefer. The U.S. Census Bureau has identified target populations most at risk of not responding, including people with language barriers, seniors, households with children under 5 years of age, and people with no or little access to computers or the internet. Your Chamber has been coordinating with the City of San Antonio, Bexar County and other local organizations to ensure a “complete count.” There are a variety of resources available across the county, including SABexarCountMeIn.org and the Chamber’s business resource completecountsa.com.
The census questionnaire covers nine topics:
- Number of people living or currently staying in the house, apartment, or mobile home
- Whether the residence is a house, apartment, or mobile home
- Telephone number
- Age and date of birth
- Hispanic origin
- Relationships of persons in the household, including opposite- and same-sex spouses and unmarried
April 1 is Census Day, but if a household has not responded to the census by April 30, census takers will begin knocking on doors to make sure everyone is counted in May. Bureau officials are monitoring the spread of the coronavirus, which could disrupt the door-to-door phase. If deemed an epidemic, census workers instead can drop off the questionnaires at homes, with the hope that people will respond on their own, according to the bureau’s operational plan.
For more information, contact Stephanie Reyes, VP of Public Policy at email@example.com or by phone at 210-229-2162.